HONOLULU (KHON2) — We are coming to the end of the Pacific hurricane season on Thursday, Nov. 30.
Though hurricanes will be much less of a threat, other threats may emerge with the onset of the rainy season.
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The Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) manages threats as they happen. They are able to mitigate the level of damage these threats pose to the islands by strengthening and developing preparedness.
HI-EMA Administrator James Barro was able to discuss just that.
Preparedness can be more important than the actions we take during an emergency, and preparedness can be more important than the actions we take during an emergency.
So, what can residents do to prepare their families for emergencies? Barro said that having a plan is key:
- Run through that plan with your family.
- Flooding is the most frequent problem during the rainy season, so make sure you and your family know what the plan is.
- During a flash flood, you may only have seconds to react; and if you don’t know how to react, then you will waste very valuable seconds that could save a life.
- Your family should know where to go when there is a flood.
- Don’t always count on mom and dad being there to direct the kids.
- Some kids are old enough to be left home alone, so they need to know what to do if mom and dad are not there.
- Know the surroundings and where you need to go if there is a flood, which is usually uphill.
- Practice the plan.
Everyone should have the proper supplies on-hand, and not only during the hurricane season. The same supplies can be used for several different emergencies.
This is Hi-EMA’s advice for supplies:
- ALWAYS have a supply kit on hand.
- Include not only emergency items such as flashlights, batteries, first aid kits, items to keep you warm, but also hygiene items.
- Make the supply kit readily accessible.
- Make sure that everyone in the house knows exactly where the supply kit is located.
- Think about what you would need if you had no power, no transportation, no access to a store and keep these issues in mind when stocking your supply kit.
- Keep it stocked with items that are frequently turned over such as medications.
- Have medications refilled and filled as early as possible to allow a cushion of medicine. Talk to your doctor about this because there are some medications that have limits to how soon they can be filled.
But how long should you plan to need these supplies?
Barro said “two weeks is what we advise. Keep in mind that some disasters may keep you from having power for a long time. It may take several days for emergency personnel to even reach you.”
Other tips or things thing people may not normally consider?
“There are always things we just don’t think about, until it’s too late,” said Barro.
- Stock up on over the counter medications, hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, bandages, alternate forms of power such as batteries or even solar chargers.
- Solar charges can be expensive, so maybe consider solar chargers that can be critical, such as a cell phone charger.
- Your cell phone can easily save your life in a lot of situations.
- Also make sure you are aware of medical needs for our keiki and kupuna.
- A lot of us have our keiki and kupuna living with us or nearby. Some children need asthma inhalers, for example. Some kupuna need oxygen tanks or walkers.
- Items that we use every day can be taken for granted when planning; so, ensure those items are included in your emergency kit, especially if you are cut off from rescue teams.
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As we move beyond the hurricane season here in Hawaiʻi, remember that anything can happen. So, it’s best to be prepared for life.